It’s safe to say Lego has found a nice home in the digital world. While adult fans are busy creating perfect replicas of The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lego Movie remains the top-grossing movie of the year. Even astronauts aboard the International Space Station are spending some of their downtime playing with the famed toy building blocks.
Now, Lego is attempting to bridge the physical and digital worlds, with a new platform that allows kids (or full-grown adult superfans) to interact with their creations through a free mobile app.
Lego Fusion allows owners to build a car, building, or other structure, and then take of a photo of the creation with their mobile device. The app “scans” the structures into the app, which then allows kids to play with their creation in one of four games.
One of the games, Battle Towers, has players build defense structures (in the real world), which are then used in an app-based tower defense game. Town Master, another game with touches of Sim City, allows players to build cities inhabited by virtual Lego people. Resort Designer is similar, but focused more on interior design. Create & Race works in the reverse direction; players build cars within the app, and then receive instructions on how to build them with physical blocks.
The idea, according to Lego, is to unite the physical and digital worlds, because when it comes to kids’ playing habits, they are increasingly one and the same.
According to Ditte Bruun Pedersen, senior design manager at the Lego Future Lab (best job title ever?), Lego has always been about world immersion, and mobile platforms offer an opportunity to expand on that potential.
“Recently, smart phones and tablets have become a popular platform for empowering game mechanisms that kids love,” Pedersen said in a statement. “Lego Fusion brings these two favorite play patterns together in an experience where real-life Lego builds come to life in a virtual game, inspiring creativity, strategy, and the pride of creation.”
The company’s research showed that parents are increasingly concerned about kids spending too much time immersed in tablets and smartphones. Pedersen explained that Fusion was developed with this in mind, as it requires significant creative interplay between physical and digital activities.
Fusion kits and the associated app will launch this August.